By Dr Arvind Kumar
9th August marks the anniversary of US atomic bombing of Nagasaki in Japan in 1945. In fact, it was on 6 August 1945 that US first dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan. Since then the nuclear weapons have continued to haunt the human kind with their gigantic destructive potential. The recent Fukushima tragedy has added new dimension to this year’s atomic bombing anniversaries in the form of the risk of radiation exposure from nuclear power plants. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings killed an estimated 140,000 people and 74,000 people, respectively, by the end of 1945. In the past, people speaking out against nuclear power generation were hardly heard among those people involved in the cause against anti-nuclear weapons. Perhaps one reason is that both the victims of the atomic bombings and the anti-nuclear weapons activists placed hope in the idea of using nuclear fission solely for peaceful purposes.
However, Chernobyl and Fukushima tragedies have made the risk of nuclear radiation exposure all too real to many people. Now the dilemma facing humankind is whether the humans can co-exist with nuclear power. The mad race for energy has impelled many countries to tap nuclear power to meet arising energy demands and consequently growing number of countries are hankering after nuclear power plants. In the wake of Fukushima tragedy, the international community should put a moratorium on new power plants. Renewable energy should replace nuclear power and nuclear reactors should be phased out gradually. There is need to combine the anti-nuclear weapons movement with the anti-nuclear power movement to save this planet from nuclear holocaust.